The Rise of Alpine Touring

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The ski industry has been in a lull, but one segment that continues to grow is alpine touring. So what is it? Think of it as a combination of cross-country and downhill skiing. Alpine tourers skip the lift and get up the hill by their own power.

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Typically that means strapping skins to the bottom of skis for traction on the hike up. Once at the top, the skins slip off and get thrown in a pack before the exhilarating ride downhill. Of course, you’ll need different equipment. Our favorites include the Blizzard Zero G Skis (from $720; blizzardsportusa.com), which, thanks to a wood core wrapped with unidirectional carbon fiber, perform like a downhill pair at half the weight.

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To rip on piste as well as you do off, mate those to the new Marker Kingpin Binding ($649; markerusa.com), which combines a touring-specific pin toe and a heel that clips in for stability. The Salomon MTN LAB Boot ($950; salomon.com) has a bigger, higher side rivet to help you ski and hike equally well.